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PETER FRIEDL
Blow Job
Curated by Anselm Franke


Extra City, Center for Contemporary Art, Antwerpen
30 May 2008 - 27 July 2008

Opening
Thurday 29 May 2008 from 7 pm

Film programme compiles and introduced by Peter Friedl
Friday 20 June 2008 from 7 pm




Peter Friedl, Untitled, 1964, drawing on paper
Courtesy Erna Hecey Gallery, Brussels

Peter Friedl explores the conditions and genres of representation, using strategies of bracketing, exposing, editing, and other contextual transfers. His artistic practice emphasizes the friction between aesthetic and political awareness in the framework of their respective narratives. With this exhibition, Berlin-based artist Peter Friedl (born 1960) returns to his long-standing fascination with theatre and its aesthetics, which was the subject of a large number of essays he wrote in the early 1980s.


The title Blow Job refers to an Internet project which started in 2001. At the time, Blow Job was set up as an anonymous blog: a brief scenario (“Berlin, 2001”) full of biographical, historical, and fictional references including seven acting characters. Running dialogues, stage directions, or prose insertions could be contributed to the website anonymously.


This trash material, now anachronistic, is the starting point for the present exhibition. Extra City commissioned Peter Friedl to turn it into a definite dramatic text which will be published by Sternberg Press in conjunction with the exhibition. Following Friedl’s previous text-based projects, such as the children’s monologues of Kromme Elleboog[Crooked Elbow] and Four or Five Roses or the interviews in Working at Copan, Blow Job raises questions of authorship, institutional practice, and visibility. The text will become the source for realizations and collaborations in various institutional contexts, beginning in São Paulo and Berlin in the fall of 2008.


The background of this commission functions as an organizing principle for a constellation of
works in the exhibition, which brings together drawings, photos, and slides from 1964 to the
present, some of which have rarely or never been shown before. Also included is the video
installation King Kong (2001), shot in Sophiatown on the outskirts of Johannesburg. The film
mimics the subtle deconstruction of a video clip, featuring songwriter Daniel Johnston against the backdrop of apartheid history. Rather than being another “retrospective”– a genre Friedl used in recent exhibitions – Blow Job reveals the theatrical as an exhibition and curatorial paradigm.


Peter Friedl’s work has been exhibited worldwide, including at documenta X (1997) and documenta XII (2007), the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), the 3rd Berlin Biennale (2004), and the 2nd International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Seville (2006). Solo exhibitions include the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (1998); Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (1999); Casino Luxembourg, Luxemburg (2001); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2001); Institute for Contemporary Art, Cape Town (2002); Institut d'art contemporain, Villeurbanne-Lyon (2002); Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main (2004); Witte de With, centre for contemporary art, Rotterdam (2004); Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2006); and Kunsthalle Basel (2008). In 2006 the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) organized a comprehensive retrospective, which was subsequently shown at Miami Art Central/Miami Art Museum and the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Marseille. Peter Friedl has been nominated for the 2008 Vincent Award in Amsterdam. (www.stedelijk.nl)

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